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Sunday, October 29, 2023
When your religious beliefs overwhelm your humanity you need to re-examine your religious beliefs. To believe that "your" God gave you the right to certain areas of land on Earth never ends well.
Friday, October 27, 2023
I thought of this once again yesterday when Rep. Jared Golden from Maine said that he was changing his vote from defending gun rights to supporting a ban on assault weapons. Apparently, the mass killing in his home state of Maine brought the problem close enough to him personally that he now saw it as a problem. The mass killings in other states were not a problem unless it came home to him. This reality that conservatives only feel empathy when it personally impacts them is a defining quality of conservatives.
I have a couple of other examples of this reality with conservatives. The first is how the Administration of Ronald Reagan proposed a 23% cut in grant funding for the National Institutes of Health but after Ronald Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease Nancy Reagan became an advocate for more funding for research into the disease. The second example is when conservatives opposed same-sex marriage until a relative came out as being gay. The best example of this is when Vice President Cheney's daughter came out as being gay.
As I have repeated once again, the defining characteristic between conservatives and liberals is that conservatives need to experience an issue personally before they develop a social conscience.
Thursday, October 26, 2023
Listening to the news today on the mass killing in Maine I heard a number of discussions that came from people who felt that we needed better ways to identify dangerous persons with a mental health problem to stop these types of killing. While better "red flag laws" might be a good thing they will never be good enough in accurately targeting potential mass killers unless we confine hundreds of people with mental health problems to find that one person who might have been a mass killer.
When you look at the number of mass killings in other countries that contain just as many dangerous people with mental health problems the only difference is the unavailability of assault weapons. We have some evidence here in the United States from 1994 to 2004 when we had a federal ban on assault weapons. Here is one report that examined the impact of that law on mass shootings. The only thing that stops the law from being reinstated federally is that Republican members of Congress are beholding to the NRA. The NRA and those members of Congress today have blood on their hands again. I only wonder if those members of Congress would change their minds if one of their relatives was blown apart in a mass killing with an assault weapon? Wounds from an assault weapon like an AR-15 can be so devastating that DNA is required to identify the body. Shots to the head usually lead to complete decapitation as it did to some of the children at Sandy Hook. Here is an article from the Washington Post on the impact of a bullet fired from an assault weapon.
Columbia was once again rated the "safest city in the United States." However last night's mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine took place in the city that Forbes rated the tenth safest city. The reality is that mass shootings in America can happen anywhere because AR-15s and other weapons are legal.
It might be telling and sad that the day that Mike Johnson was sworn in as the Speaker of the House there was another mass shooting. When you look at his record on gun control he is a co-sponsor of the bill that limited the liability of gun manufacturers for deaths caused by guns. Johnson is from Louisiana which has the second highest rate of gun deaths of all the states.
Saturday, October 21, 2023
Favorite Halloween costume this year
Friday, October 13, 2023
For the last year what has played out in Russia's war in Ukraine has made it much easier to identify the "good guys" and the "bad guys." What is being played out in the Middle East now between Hamas and Israel is harder to identify which side is represented as good or bad. The killing of innocent people on both sides has to be condemned. What should not be overlooked is the religious basis for the conflict. When you have religions that believe God supports their actions you have the basis for hatred that leads to cruelty in wars. Retribution and revenge can blind even normally moral people to doing immoral things. The first piece of propaganda that is put out in a war is that your enemy is subhuman and not deserving of living. You can hear and see that on both sides of the present conflict. Killing civilians is justified on both sides because the other side has killed civilians. Killing children in Israel does not justify killing children in Gaza or the other way around. Killing children can never be justified or excused.
Religion which is created out of ignorance and dogma has always been a threat to the stability and morality wherever it has existed. To believe that only you and your fellow religious believers have some special place in the eyes of your God gives you the justification to murder non-believers. This has been repeated throughout history too many times. Only when religious belief does away with the belief that they have a special place in God's eyes can different religions co-exist. Of course, this would negate the need for religion as your moral compass.
No adult has a right to harm a child for what ever cause in which they believe.
Saturday, October 7, 2023
No matter what happens to the Baltimore Orioles in the postseason there is a lesson that can be applied to any organization or business. The lesson is that change is inevitable and those that don't adapt and change will cease to survive. There are so many examples of this. Kodak is probably the best example. After dominating the film industry for decades their slow response to digital photography brought on their death as a company.
With baseball, the traditionalists used the old methods of evaluating player potential that was very subjective. With computers and algorithms, there was a new more sophisticated, and objective way to evaluate player potential. The Oakland A's were the first to use this method and it was written about in the book and movie Moneyball. The method was then used with the Houston Astros and now with the Orioles.
Another way of looking at this reality is to recognize that organizations that only look at short-term internal operations will never see the changes that are developing outside the organization that will be a threat to them in the future. Look for the changes or get ready to be replaced.
Wednesday, October 4, 2023
Of course, if it comes down to a Biden/Trump race again it is an easy choice to stay with Biden.